Proud to be Waters
NAME of PROFESSOR: Scott Boylston
NAME OF CLASS: The Role of Graphic Design in Social Awareness | GRDS-726 | Winter 2012
STUDENTS: Tiffany Lindeborn, Ying Liu, Giang Nguyen, Marina Petrova , Foram Shah
KEY PARTICIPANTS: Syndey J. Johnson, Jerome Meadows, Larry ‘Gator’ Rivers, Freddie Patrick, Rosemary Bank, Angela Simon, Penny Evans
OBJECTIVES OF THE PROJECT:
This class was charged with responding to a common concern expressed by the Waters Avenue community: that the people already living there were not being celebrated enough in the midst of the economic hardship experienced by many in the area. The class project framed the opportunity to use visual communication as a mirror for the community by featuring the strength and character of individual people living along the corridor. These posters will be hung in stores, churches, and community centers, in the hopes of fostering community pride. The individuals featured in the poster series can be changed from year to year to keep the process inclusive. A second series of posters was created that includes numerous members of the community holding up individual letters that spell out W.A.T.E.R.S.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PROCESS
Students began with interviews of community ‘pillars’ as a way to introduce themselves to the community, and to provide them with an chance to get acquainted with Human Centered Design techniques they used all quarter long. As the early interviews and interactions continued, the students were introduced to other individuals within the community and relationships were built. Certain demographic sectors were identified as underserved: youth, long-term elderly residents, and local business people, so teams focused on meeting individuals from these groups. As work developed, presentations were made to the community for feedback, and to the City of Savannah in order to invest them in the process. This iterative process continued throughout the quarter, and the design work changed according to feedback. The second series of posters that feature many individuals holding individual letters spelling out W.A.T.E.R.S. were also created to enhance the sense of civic pride. This intimate interaction with the community has resulted in new friendships and a sense of awareness on the student behalf that the best design is participatory in nature and in process.
–A series of 10 posters, which will be printed by the City of Savannah in the summer of 2012
–over 15 hours of recorded interviews with residents of Waters Avenue
–extracted quotes from each interview, and ‘detail sheets’ that describe the interview content based upon each interview timeline
–extensive photography of all interviewed participants
–a comprehensive ‘pass-it-on’ book that documents the entire process
POTENTIAL NEXT STEPS
The 10 original poster will be published by the City of Savannah in 2012 as they kick off their official Waters Avenue Revitalization project. These posters will be distribute along the corridor, and hung in churches, stores and community centers. There are also group posters, with community members holding large letters that spell out W.A.T.E.R.S. These posters represent the community aspect of Waters, and they will also be printed and distributed. We recommend continuing the poster project on an annual basis, so new community members can be featured.
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